Woman Arrested, Accused of Posing as Social Worker to Try Kidnapping Newborn in Santa Ana

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A woman has been arrested on suspicion of trying to kidnap a newborn in Santa Ana while posing as a social worker, police said Saturday.

A woman being sought after allegedly posing as a social work in a kidnapping attempt in Santa Ana is seen in a still from a video released by Santa Ana police on June 7, 2019.

A woman being sought after allegedly posing as a social work in a kidnapping attempt in Santa Ana is seen in a still from a video released by Santa Ana police on June 7, 2019.

She allegedly told the infant's mother she needed to take him into custody after arriving to the family's home along Evergreen Street, according to police. The mother ultimately refused and her sisters filmed some video of the suspect as she walked away.

The attempted abduction was reported about 11:30 a.m.

Police have said the 38-year-old suspected kidnapper's name will not be released.

She was previously described by police as a person of interest in the kidnapping after she turned herself in following release of the video on Friday.

Santa Ana Police Department detectives are now working with investigators from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department on "possibly related investigations," police said. No other details were given.

The baby was born May 31 and his mother was immediately suspicious when the woman arrived at her door and identified herself as a social worker named "Mayela Ortega," according to authorities. She refused to hand over her son when the suspect was unable to give details confirming her identity.

"I told her if the sheriff comes and he has to arrest me, then he can arrest me. But I am not going to give you my child," said the mother, who wishes to remain anonymous.

She also offered to go with the suspected kidnapper, who then said there wasn't enough room in the car, according to Santa Ana Police Corporal Anthony Bertagna. He said the suspect then turned around and quickly walked away.

Video of the suspected kidnapper was given to police and later released to the public. Meanwhile, authorities contacted local social services and learned there was no social worker matching the woman's description and her story about needing to take the child, Bertagna said.

Bertagna also said it's not protocol to have social workers show up to homes with no information confirming their identities as government employees.

A woman later came to police and identified herself as the person in the video. She was positively identified by the infant's mother as the suspected kidnapper.

The suspect told police it was a misunderstanding but was later booked on suspicion of attempting to kidnap the child.

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